November Favourites

How can November be over already? November was an utter delight, due to the 3 1/2 week visit of these people!

My little old mum and dad
My little old mum and dad

There aren’t many people who would make a 3 1/2 week visit even tolerable, let alone a total joy, but Mum and Dad are those people and I have loved every second of having them here. They leave on Friday and I will literally be broken-hearted.

This month, I’ve mostly been doing….


I handed in my paper on Selective Mutism and had  a few more classes. I got to visit Genentech’s preschool/daycare facilities on a field trip. Whilst the spectacular facilities are undeniable, I know I wouldn’t be happy teaching anywhere quite so large and so corporate!


I managed four books this month.

The story of a new name by Elena Ferrante is the second of her Neapolitan novels and I really loved it. It’s a big book but it was fab. I’ve ordered the third one from the library.

My most literary friend put me onto French writer Anna Gavalda and when I found her ‘I wish someone were waiting for me somewhere’ in a second-hand book shop, I snapped it up. Her writing is spectacular. I read it in English and want to reread it in French to see the words she used for various beautiful phrases and paragraphs. This is a collection of short stories – the first two in particular are remarkable and the one about the country vet…well, you need to read it. Wholeheartedly recommended.

It wasn’t till I moved to the States that I’d even heard of Julia Child – she’s kind of like the 1960s version of Delia Smith. This month I read her autobiography ‘My life in France’ and it was beautiful. I was reading it when news of the Paris atrocities came through and it kind of broke my heart.

In a secondhand book shop I also found ‘Battles in Thrush Green‘ by my mum’s favourite writer ‘Miss Read’. She writes gentle (but not twee) novels about a little village in the Cotswolds and reading this one made me sweetly homesick.




Seriously, you need to follow @this_girl_is_a_squirrel. This girl actually has a squirrel as a pet (a dream of mine) and her feed is full of the most adorable squirrel photos ever. It makes me smile every day.

I’m also mildly obsessed by pro runner Sara Hall. She’s on Instagram here and blogs here. She and her husband Ryan seem really lovely – they just went to Ethiopia to adopt a baby and brought home four daughters, aged 6 – 15 ish. Honestly, every photo they publish and update they post makes my heart joyful. So beautiful. There’s a role-model for us runner girls!


Oh Daniel Craig. Just when I think I’m over you, apparently I’m not. Spectre was not Casino Royale but it was not Quantum of Solace. A solid 7/10 movie, some excellent set-pieces and a really gorgeous car.

When my parents arrived, Mum and I watched Julie and Julia (inspired by my reading the Julia Child book) and it was actually quite fun.

I’ve also been catching up with kids movies this month. Despicable Me was better than expected (I cried at the end). Inside Out was really good.


I haven’t actually made this but my neighbour brought me a jar over to use and it’s amazing. Clementine Ginger salad dressing. EVERYONE loved it!! They also loved this red lentil cashew soup (even my vegetarian-averse father) and these amazing salmon burgers!! You need to try the dressing and the burgers especially.


I tried a new cleanser this month and I loved the sample so much I bought a big tube. ‘Dr.Brand Pores no more‘ has cleared up a horrible blemish that had been lingering for TOO LONG (I’m 40, skin!) and has done wonders. I don’t usually recommend skincare but I really like this stuff.


The Dude turned six. He’s incredibly grown up. I love him so flipping much. He had a cycling party at the local ‘jumps’ and we (along with both sets of grandparents) gave him a brand new bike with gears!! We will never keep up with him again.

The Dude and Stealthbomber
The Dude and Stealthbomber

Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving was lovely. We enjoyed the old Mission  –  we sniggered when we heard one girl saying ‘Is this really old or just made to look old?’. I loved Handlebar Roasting Co. which made amazing coffee and had very cool customers, and fake-Danish Solvang wins my heart! Best of all, our Airbnb came with its own cat, the wonderful Stella. I miss her.

IMG_0156 stella

santa barbara
#optoutside – actually, we just drove up the mountain for the photos


Anyone who lives in drought-stricken California is falling in love with succulents so I took the parents to Flora Grubb Gardens, our hipster succulent garden centre. So many great ideas.

flora grubb
Got a damaged table? Stick a succulent in it.

The Dude was a pilgrim at Thanksgiving. Say no more.

dude thanksgiving
Laughed so hard I cried.


Looking forward to

Running trails with my girls on Saturday! I ordered some VERY VERY cheap (if totally unnecessary) trail shoes on the irunfar clearance sale so will be giving them a test-ride.

Christmas and all the resulting hoopla. Flipping love it.


The Walnut Creek Half Marathon. Realistically it may not be the glorious PR I’d dreamed of but it’s going to be awesome and I’m going to run my socks off.

Happy December, y’all!

(Can I get away with ‘y’all’?)

As ever, no affiliate links were used in the writing of this glorious piece of prose. No-one pays me to do this. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nic J says:

    How lovely to see your parents out there, and taking part in an event! Ace! I can’t believe November is done and dusted, and we’re even a week into December now. The village show was last night…not only did we survive, I think we did fairly well. One more thing to cross off the list before the hols start, and I’m ready! Better go, off to do a run ‘for fun’ rather than for training. Lovely!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      We had so much fun with the parents, I’m missing them loads. And congrats on the village show…I bet you were brill. Enjoy the ‘funning’ (i.e. fun running)

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